HomeOpinionOpinion: Tedstone the Logical Choice for School Committee

Opinion: Tedstone the Logical Choice for School Committee

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On Thursday, July 11, the School Committee and Select Board will hold a joint meeting at the HCAM studios to interview and appoint a replacement member to the School Committee due to the departure of Adam Munroe. Four residents have applied for the position: Brendan Tedstone, Kyla McSweeney, Deborah Mihaley, and Sravana Krishna.

Mr. Tedstone and Ms. McSweeney are well known in Hopkinton; Tedstone is a former two-term Select Board member and Ms. McSweeney recently ran for Select Board in the May election. Neither Mr. Krishna, who lists his occupation as an IT executive, nor Ms. Mihaley, whose past legal troubles were profiled in HopNews on June 24, have prior experience in town government. 

On paper, Ms. McSweeney is highly qualified. She earned a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education and her law degree from Suffolk University. Her entire career has been in education, culminating with her current position as a Director at the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care. In this role she is responsible for administering grants for pre-Kindergarten programs within the Commonwealth.

But it’s possible her employment with the state may put her in a conflict of interest position were she to serve on Hopkinton’s School Committee.

In an interview with HopNews on March 27, McSweeney was asked about serving on School Committee instead of Select Board.

“I have thought about School Committee,” said McSweeney. “I worry about being a little too close to what I do (for work) to be on the school committee. I may have to recuse myself.”

This introduces the possibility that McSweeney may not be able to vote on key issues.

For Hopkinton taxpayers, there is much at stake with this appointment. This fall the School Committee will begin negotiating with the Hopkinton Teachers Association for a new three-year contract. This comes at a time when the cost of living in Hopkinton, and indeed the entire Commonwealth, is at an all-time high. According to RentCafe, Massachusetts has a cost of living that is 48% higher than the national average, with housing costs being 112% higher than the national average. The median sale price for a single-family home in Massachusetts reached $570,000 in 2023, a 3.6% increase over 2022 prices. Further, a 2024 study by Smart Asset found that Massachusetts is the most expensive state to live comfortably in, requiring a single adult to earn at least $116,022 annually (or $55.78 per hour) to cover basics, wants, and savings.

There is little doubt the teacher’s union will bargain for a substantial cost of living increase, which like all workers they rightly deserve. Arguably, the union now has more leverage than ever. 

Niche.com ranks Hopkinton Public Schools the #1 Best School District in Massachusetts, the #1 District with the Best Teachers in Massachusetts, and the #1 Best Place to Teach in Massachusetts. US News indicates Hopkinton High has a 99% graduation rate, and ranks it the #7 best school in Massachusetts and #250 Nationally. Undoubtedly, our teachers are a large part of this success.

Last fall, the Newton Teachers Association, after an 11-day illegal strike suspended classes, extracted several generous concessions from the city, including a 12% cost of living increase, double the amount of parental leave, reduced class sizes and the hiring of auxiliary staff. 

Hopkinton Teachers Association president Rebecca Abate, who was recently reseated following a controversial election, showered praise on the striking teachers, telling Boston’s GBH “What Andover and Newton got, especially the parental leave, was jaw-dropping for my members. It didn’t seem like it was in the realm of possibility, so we are going to ask for more than we would have before.” 

>> RELATED: Hop Teachers Union President Abate Under Fire for Allegedly Rigging Election

Abate is known for her aggressive negotiating style. “She comes at the role with an ‘us vs. them’ mentality, like a Yankees vs. Red Sox mentality,” said a source who was involved in the last round of union negotiations.

Hopkinton voters recently approved the construction of a replacement school for Elmwood Elementary and a renovation of the Hopkins school. Combined, the projects are expected to cost taxpayers more than $140 million. The weight of this debt will be felt by every citizen for decades.

For this reason, Tedstone is the logical choice for School Committee.

Entering these negotiations, Hopkinton needs a fiscally conservative fighter in its corner, someone that will match Abate’s pugilistic style. During Tedstone’s time in office, the Select Board passed multiple budget underrides, providing tax relief to all residents. Like all candidates, Tedstone is not without his faults. He is frequently bombastic and unafraid to speak exactly what is on his mind, occasionally to the chagrin of his audience. But no one will question his loyalty to the town in which his family has resided for several generations or his bona fides

The School Committee is currently comprised of Nancy Richards-Cavanaugh (a capable chair and excellent tactician), Susan Stephenson (persistently deferential to her colleagues), Jamie Wronka (newly elected), and Chris Masters (newly elected). The Committee lacks both the grit and experience to forge a fair and lasting agreement between the Town and the teachers union. For this reason, the Select Board and School Committee should not hesitate to appoint Brendan Tedstone to serve.

Peter Thomas is the Editor-in-Chief at HopNews.

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18 COMMENTS

  1. Brendan is by far the best choice. Home grown well respected member of our community. He will not sugar coat things and will always vote for what is best for our children and community.

  2. Sorry – having watched this man loose his mind at a lacrosse game and being told to leave by the ref and parents on both sides of the game – he left and changed clothes in a effort to keep on the side lines – this man has zero I mean zero rights to have anything to do with education or anything in their town – a horrible horrible person for any of our youth to emulate-

    • I’ve heard this story before as well. First thing I thought of was this story and wondered what type of example this was for the young kids. I’m sure all the kids from Hopkinton also remember. Paddy and DC, it is not a baseless comment. Go ahead and ask him directly and he’ll be more than happy to talk about it.

    • Having personally endured baseless attacks and unfounded accusations, I strongly feel that anyone who makes serious allegations against another person should identify themselves. It’s crucial that we uphold integrity within our community and avoid spreading misinformation, especially when individuals are volunteering their time. If there are legitimate concerns regarding Mr. Tedstone, it’s only fair to substantiate them openly, allowing others to verify their validity.

    • Since you seem concerned about role models, let’s keep in mind who’s on the other side of the bargaining table. Becky Abate has a documented history of verbal abuse, bullying, favoritism in the classroom, and other deviations from the values taught in our schools. Knowing the tactics that the HTA is likely to deploy in their union negotiations, a fighter like Brendan is the best choice. Brendan knows how to deal with bullies such as Abate. Guaranteed he will fight for our kids, their rights, parents expectations, and tax payers. Without Brendan on the SC, we would be left with individuals much more likely to cower under the aggressive and toxic bullying tactics of the HTA. Hopkinton students and tax payers deserve to have someone like Brendan fighting in their corner.

  3. I think Mr. Tedstone is the best candidate for this vacancy on the SC, especially considering the fact that this is a negotiation year with the HTA. Additionally, when the SC and SB filled the vacant SC seat last year, several voting members mentioned that the candidate who possessed previous budget experience, and could “hit the ground running,” would be their preference. Using the same logic, I think Mr. Tedstone is clearly the best choice here.

  4. Brendan Tedstone, knows the town, its citizens, the history, and its school system. No better person to advocate for the children, while maintaining integrity within the School Committee.

  5. I share James’ concerns and had a similar experience. While enjoying a meal at a local watering hole, Mr. Tedstone sat near me with his family. He had an acquaintance who was unabashedly sharing his political views which were of the far right variety. Not only were they “information challenged”, but also accompanied by very vulgar, profanity-laced language. Mr. Tedstone, wife and young child did not move. I was quite shocked, for here was a member of the local planning board who not only agreed with many of his friend’s comments, but also voiced his own; Opinions which were honestly boiler plate attacks heard on Fox News and (like many opinions of the far left) simple and lacking intelligent research. Again, I was very shocked and felt extremely uncomfortable. Not because of what he was saying, but because he was/is a public figure and a father. I also felt shocked because I have met Brendon and like had a good impression of his character. I like(d) how he has deep roots in this town and connections to Hopkinton’s true character which is it’s strength. In the larger picture, he did nothing wrong. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I thought this display showed very poor judgement and when I read this article, felt compelled to share my story. And when those who know Brendon better than I read this, they will not be surprised by my story because it’s true, honest and exemplary of who he is as a person. He should serve the town in some capacity because he is an asset. But he should have nothing to do with the school committee and the education of our (my) children. I choose not to share my name because like many who do in this forum, I would experience petty revenge.

    • “information challenged..”? That is an opinion, not fact. Both sides of the isle have strong ideas of “facts” they believe. You call out FOX? Remember CNN, MSNBC, NBC, and other media outlets all joined the chorus and declared the Hunter laptop was Russian disinformation. So much for relying on the liberal media outlets for “facts”.

  6. My best friends, sisters boyfriends brothers girlfriend once saw Brendan pull over on his snowmobile on Hayden Rowe and help an old lady cross the street but didn’t smile. They felt that his kind act was overshadowed by his lack of enthusiasm. Fortunately for the old lady though, she crossed safely and even lent him a smitten eye. I think from her perspective, it really didn’t matter how he approached the task, he cared enough to go out of the way and do the right thing. Brendan is one of those people where the end justifies the means. I find the lax game story semi credible leading up to the point where he had a change of clothes readily available. You had me right up to that point. I also believe that Brendan would confirm parts of your story and in hindsight, wished he dialed it in but such is life. You can’t teach passion and you need his spirited personality to reach a win win deal with the teachers union. Everyone deserves a raise when they are doing a good job.. just like our police and fire fighters.. Not the selectboard though 🙂 If not Brendan, Vote for Pedro

  7. Anyone who disagrees with the narrative of this opinion piece is being belittled and ridiculed yet there is calls to have people identify themselves. I wonder why they choose anonymity?

    • Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.

      McIntyre v. Ohio – Supreme Court Decision

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